Wednesday 1 March 2023


St. David’s Day. March 1st. The start of our meteorological spring, so by way of celebration, we wandered around our Dorset garden   yesterday to take a few ‘happy snaps’ of the beauty that surrounds us. And what we saw made us smile. 
First of our treasures to shine aren’t the symbolic snow drops but camellias, some of the many varieties we have gathered over the years even start flowering before Christmas.


They don't just look pretty, they provide sustenance for emerging insects such as this queen BTB, [buff tailed bumblebee if you need the detail], and these glorious blooms are followed quickly by the bee friendly mahonia, providing a meal
 for those insects that venture out early in the year.

Somehow though, it always seems to be the snowdrops that herald in our spring, their sparkling white blooms forcing their way up through last year’s leaf fall and lighting up our woodland.

Our witch-hazel have been blooming wonderful for some time, though their blooms aren’t created by witches, even if their powerful scent is magical.

Even more nose curling is our daphne, a shrub that thrives in our damp soil, the scent drifting all over the garden and so strong that even a covid sufferer should be able to enjoy it’s sweet offerings.


A few years ago we cleared a patch of sprawling brambles and tangled honeysuckle in the wood to create a sunny glade and planted it with snow drops.
We added native bluebells and old English daffodils, along with these delightful cyclamen ... hellebores and aconites too, and though these yellow stars have been flowering for a while and are past their best, this is how the glade will look in a couple of weeks.

We're pleased that our annual pair of semi-tame mallard have set up shop on our big pond, though we suspect they might have already eaten the frog spawn in our marsh which isn't so welcome.

While mentioning confiding birds, I have been trying to tame this robin and it's taken me since Christmas for him to trust me enough

to eat from my hand. He certainly played hard to get and I haven't even managed a picture on my hand to confim my success!

I feared he'd been zapped by one of our resident sparrow hawks when I found robin feathers by the bird-table yesterday, but my friend came for his breakfast hand outs this morning, so all is well, especially for the long-tailed-tits that gathered the feathers for their nest. I suppose I'll have to try to find their miraculous construction now.
Here's one with lichen nest material for it's beautiful birch tree construction, photographed near an osprey nest when I was making a film about them for the RSPB in the mid '70's. I guess that means I'm old now ... and here's the nest almost complete. What a work of art.

So nest-building suggests the seasons are moving on, especially as those finest of songsters are now in full voice, the blackbird, though this one won't be singing with a mouthfull of grub.

I’m sure like Sue and I, your spirits lift when you hear their beautiful song, so even if the winter drags on as it always seems to, there is already lots to enjoy out there. What's more, on March 21st, the Spring Equinox will mark the moment when days and nights are the same length and we can look forward to tulips and warm sunshine.


So, like us and this brimstone butterfly we saw last weekend, you could fly out there, find a sheltered corner in the sun, take a few deep breaths, soak up the vitamin D and dream of summer days when your roses bloom and the air is filled with their scent and the hum of pollinating bees. Heaven is out there in our gardens, waiting for us all to enjoy.


If you’re still reading this ditty, then I guess like Sue and I, it means you’re keen on wildlife, so we have a book to recommend you … and it’s no ordinary book.

Our friend and near neighbour Jane Adams has just completed a book for The National Trust called ‘NATURE’S WONDERS - Moments that Mark the Seasons’ and you’ll be hard pressed to read a more enjoyable book on wildlife because it is full of fascination facts and will inspire you to go out and enjoy nature even more. In fact, if you can remember all the wonderful info, then you’ll be the winner of every pub quiz this year. Buying it is a no brainer. Like us, you’ll love it.